Russian military increases electromagnetic spectrum capacity
As a result of major reforms and continued state investment in modernization for over a decade, the Russian armed forces have significantly improved their capabilities both in general and in electronic warfare in particular (EW; en Russian, radioelectronnaya borba, or CER). This involved the formation of specialized EG structures, including at the brigade level, and the filling of all branches and arms of military service with EG trained personnel and equipment. The process of modernization benefiting Russia’s electronic warfare capability has in many cases overshadowed the technology that exists in foreign armies, including those of member states of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). These advances strengthen the overall ability of the Russian armed forces to disrupt, jam and interfere with the enemy’s command and control (C2) systems, communications, radars or potential weapons. And the proposed technology continues to receive high priority in Russian military modernization. The latest illustration of this burgeoning ability to fight in the electromagnetic spectrum (EMS) will likely replace other advanced electronic warfare systems currently in service, particularly based on some of the details emerging around the new Divnomorye-U complex (Discover24. ru, January 25).
An article from the end of August in Voyenno Promyshlennyy Kuryer details a breakthrough in the development of next-generation EW systems, also covering specific examples of EW assets entering service over the past four years, but highlighting Divnomorye-U and its unique characteristics. Apparently, the Divnomorye-U offers EW protection against radar recognition over an area of several hundred kilometers by generating an EW interference “umbrella”; it is specially designed to provide cover against enemy radars. Therefore, the Divnomorye-U provides effective radar protection for fixed and temporary command posts, air defense systems, force groups, as well as major political-military and industrial centers (Voyenno Promyshlennyy Kuryer, 24 August).
An important feature of the new Divnomorye-U is its integration into the automated C2, which significantly increases its speed and operational utility. By incorporating this automated element into the design of the system, the EW complex detects and then analyzes the signal and type of the target, as well as its strength and direction of radiation. The high-tech automated system undoubtedly harnesses artificial intelligence (AI) in its processes, then it works out a suppression plan and selects the most effective jamming methods. The Divnomorye-U is designed to emit high power radiation that neutralizes enemy radar, regardless of type. It would be capable of jamming both ground radars and radar from aircraft such as E-8 JSTAR, E-3 AWACS, E-2 Hawkeye, as well as radar equipment on board helicopters and air vehicles. unmanned (UAV). Even satellite radar stations would lose sight of the Divnomorye-U coverage area, the Voyenno Promyshlennyy Kuryer article claims. The new complex can go into combat mode in a matter of minutes and it can be mounted on a single vehicle (Voyenno Promyshlennyy Kuryer, August 24).
According to Russian electronic warfare specialists, the Divnomorye-U is capable of replacing three modern systems in service: the Krasukha-4, Krasukha-2 and Moskva-1. The technological breakthrough concerns the exploitation of both automated C2 and AI to achieve a more advanced generation of electronic warfare complexes capable of suppressing enemy targets with minimal human involvement (Discover24.ru, January 25; Politexpert. ru, June 4, 2020).
Such technological developments based on achieving radar jamming at higher speed as well as exploiting AI and automated C2 to dramatically improve speed of action are consistent with other advancements in capability. electronic warfare system made public at the end of 2017 by the then Deputy Defense Minister, Yury Borisov. This particularly concerned the Palantin, Rtut-BM and Tirada-2S systems. The performance characteristics of these EW complexes confirm to what extent the Defense Ministry has emphasized the need for continued technological evolution of such systems in order to enhance military capabilities to combat in the electromagnetic spectrum (EMS) (Voyenno Promyshlennyy Kuryer, August 24).
The Palatine operational-tactical complex was developed by one of the divisions of Rostec — JSC Concern Sozvezdie. This group of Russian defense companies is also responsible for the development of the army’s automated C2 systems. The Palantin outperforms similar complexes of previous generations. It is equipped with high-tech equipment and blinds the enemy’s technical means in both ultra-short and short-wave fields, depriving units of an effective C2 by organizing “insoluble problems” in the fields. communications. The Palantin ensures the active conduct of effective radio reconnaissance and suppresses all known radio communication systems of a potential enemy. This includes complexes formed on the basis of modern software-defined radio (SDR) platforms. It can combine several different EW systems into one network. In tests in the Central Military District in 2019, the Palantin was tested by electronic warfare specialists operating as part of a battalion tactical group in which it was able to suppress radio communications from an opposing force. simulated in an area of up to 1,000 km (Voyenno Promyshlennyy Kuryer, August 24, 2021; Svpressa.ru, April 22, 2020).
Likewise, the Rtut-BM is an EW system mounted on a lightweight multipurpose crawler chassis. Several defense companies are responsible for the mass production of the complex: the Muromteplovoz plant, which produces the basic chassis, NPO Kvant in Nizhny Novgorod, which manufactures the equipment, and the Kazan optical and mechanical plant, which serves as an assembly site for the Rtut-BM. The Rtut-BM against guided weapons and protects military units from artillery fire and ammunition with radio fuses. The Tirada-2S is an electronic communications suppression complex capable of effectively neutralizing satellite communications. It uses a narrow beam to target the frequencies of certain satellite communication channels. The Tirada-2S generates aiming obstacles which overlap as much as possible with the possibility of transmitting a signal to the recipient: as the satellite tries to overcome the electromagnetic curtain established by the system on the ground, this drains its energy resource (Voyenno Promyshlennyy Kuryer, 24 August) .
These advancements in Russian electronic warfare capability confirm the continued high-level interest among senior military personnel in expanding and advancing existing capabilities. These offer a formidable conventional military capability both in terms of protecting Russian military units, providing critical interference to adversary communications and radars, as well as disrupting enemy C2 and some weapon systems. . Recent advancements are harnessing AI to dramatically improve the speed of using these systems in combat. While this Russian military capability is increasingly well documented, it is less in the headlines than big budget kinetic assets like submarines. Indeed, there is a gap between the military and political leadership of NATO in terms of the level of knowledge of the importance and the potential threat posed by these systems. A new generation of political leaders among Alliance members must understand how this Russian military capability changes the dynamics and calculations involved in any future NATO-Russia conflict.